During the first Gulf War I was surprised by the wild and obscene enthusiasm for the war displayed by a colleague of mine whom I considered to be one of the most liberal Americans. He was a brilliant engineer who after completing his Ph.D. had briefly worked at the MIT. In the late 1980s when I moved from the beautiful and sunny
Los Angeles to the colder
northeastern part of the ,
he and his wife were the first ones to invite me for a dinner at his newly
bought modest home. He appeared genuine and wiser than others. We developed a very cordial relationship and
he would seek out my advice on any problem that he could not personally solve.
I was his go-to guy for complex problems. Even though we don’t work together
any more for almost two decades he would pick up his phone once in a while to
call me from USA
to ask for my opinion on problems. Boston
Seeing the gory pictures of the war in which the fleeing unarmed Iraqis were bombed in what was described as the Highway of Death or more properly the Highway of Slaughter, Greg was so happy and joyful that I was simply shocked. I could not picture him as a cheerleader for a war in which the civilians were killed like the mosquitoes or pulverized!
Well, war brings out the worst in us, and unmasks the other side of our humankind, which under ordinary peaceful circumstances may not reveal its ugliness. In its global crusade against terror, the
has ignored the early
generation of American statesmen who warned of the corrupting influence of
standing armies and war. USA
Mach 19 marks the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion and occupation of
his short television address that evening (which was dawn of March 20, 2003 in Iraq Iraq) President George W. Bush outlined the
goals: “to disarm ,
to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” He promised the
result: “We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.” Iraq
It did not take too long for everyone to find out that Bush Jr. and his administration had lied about the WMDs. There was none in
While the Taliban regime, which provided shelter to OBL, has been replaced with a friendly collaborating regime, the experts are saying that
America has essentially lost the war in . Afghanistan
As recently noted by Harvard Professor Stephen Walt in the Foreign Policy, the
U.S. objectives in could not be achieved
without a much larger commitment of resources. According to him, “Troop levels
in Afghanistan Afghanistan never
approached the ratio of troops/population observed in more successful instances
of nation-building, and that deficiency was compounded by 's ethnic
divisions, mountainous terrain, geographic isolation, poor infrastructure, and
porous borders.” [Among other reasons, Professor Walt mentions Afghanistan ’s
continued support of the Taliban where they could always slip across and live
to fight another day. Successful counterinsurgencies require effective and
legitimate local partners; however, Karzai was not that partner.] Pakistan
I have difficulty believing that even another hundred thousand troops would have made much difference. All other earlier invaders have learned that billion-dollar bitter lesson that battles could be won in
but not the war. However,
the American arrogance seemed to blindside its own leaders about their
technical and tactical superiority. Nation-building of the war-ravaged Afghanistan Afghanistan was never a priority for the
government. Contrary to Prof. Walt’s observation, U.S. Islamabad
has been very accommodating to U.S.
war efforts inside ;
more Pakistani soldiers have died fighting in the autonomous FATA region than
Truth is often the first casualty in war. What is not discussed inside the USA is that its government policies have contributed not only to the tragedy of 9/11 but continue to foster extremist reactions (or ‘terrorism’) to this very day, and probably will do so for a foreseeable future. In spite of world-wide condemnation, the Obama administration refuses to stop its highly controversial drone attacks in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa, which are counter-productive and are known to radicalize a whole new generation, thereby perpetuating the problem of ‘terrorism’ in the region. Inside
Pakistan alone, at least 400 civilian deaths
were caused by
drone attacks. U.S.
Recently a United Nations team investigating civilian casualties from drone strikes concluded that the
drone war in
is illegal because Ben Emmerson, the UN special
rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, who visited Pakistan with a
team of investigators, found that Pakistani authorities did not (and do not) consent
to drone strikes on their territory, contrary to the claims made by the US
officials. According to Emmerson, “As a matter of international law the Pakistan US drone campaign in is therefore being
conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or
the legitimate government of the state. It involves the use of force on
the territory of another state without its consent and is therefore a violation
of Pakistan ’s
It should be noted here that Emmerson, along with several other colleagues at the UN, formally announced an investigation into civilian casualties in
US drone strikes last year, warning that some US drone strikes in may amount to war crimes.
It is highly doubtful that the Pakistan
would be deterred by the recent findings of the UN team. U.S.
Professor Walt concluded, “In short, the
was destined to lose because it didn't go all-out to win, and it
shouldn't have. Indeed, an all-out effort would have been a huge mistake,
because the stakes were in fact rather modest. Once the Taliban had been ousted
and al Qaeda had been scattered, U.S. 's main interest was
continuing to degrade al Qaeda (as we have done). That mission was distinct
from the attempt to nation-build in America Afghanistan,
and in the end 's
importance did not justify a substantially larger effort. … Thus, the real
failure in Afghanistan Afghanistan was
much broader ... The entire national security establishment failed to recognize
or acknowledge the fundamental mismatch between 1) interests (which
were limited), 2) our stated goals (which were quite ambitious), and 3)
the vast resources and patience it would have required to achieve
those goals. … Given this mismatch between interests, goals, and resources, it
was stupid to keep trying to win at a level of effort that was never
going to succeed. Yet no one on the inside seems to have pointed this out, or
if they did, their advice was not heeded. And that is the real reason why the
war limped on for so long and to such an unsatisfying end.” U.S.
The fact is the case involving
accusations of OBL’s involvement with the tragedy on 9/11 should have been
fought and settled in an international court, and not in , whose people had
nothing to do with it. When war becomes means for ulterior motives, however,
such sensible things are either forgotten or ignored. Afghanistan
In his well-researched book “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing), journalist Trevor Aaronson, brilliantly shows the reality in the post-9/11
His book exposes the dubious tactics the FBI has used in targeting Muslim
Americans with sting operations since 2001. Many Americans have heard about
several alleged conspiracies to attack skyscrapers, synagogues, or subway
stations, involving either individuals whom the FBI calls “lone wolves” or
small cells. But what they may not know is that these terrifying plots were
almost entirely concocted and engineered by the FBI itself, using
corrupt agent provocateurs who often posed a far more serious
criminal threat than these dimwitted amateurs. United States
Aaronson noted that the agency has adopted an “any means necessary” approach to its terrorism prevention efforts, regardless of whether real terrorists are being caught. To the FBI, this imperative justifies recruiting informants with extensive criminal records, including convictions for fraud, violent crimes, and even child molestation. In addition to offering lenience, if not forgiveness, for heinous crimes, the FBI pays these informants tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, creating a vicious incentive for them to trap dupes into terrorist plots. Aaronson quoted an FBI official defending this practice: “To catch the devil you have to go to hell.”
What is more disturbing is the revelation that the targets in most of these sting operations posed little real threat. They may have had a history of angry anti-government rhetoric, but they took no steps toward terrorist acts until they received encouragement and resources from government agents.
As noted by Michael German, an ex-FBI agent who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Prior to September 11, 2001, if an agent had suggested opening a terrorism case against someone who was not a member of a terrorist group, who had not attempted to acquire weapons, and who didn’t have the means to obtain them, he would have been gently encouraged to look for a more serious threat. An agent who suggested giving such a person a stinger missile or a car full of military-grade plastic explosives would have been sent to counseling. Yet in Aaronson’s telling, such techniques are now becoming commonplace.”
This expose of the FBI is very disturbing and shows how ordinary Americans are duped. Sadly, however, the FBI-manufactured terrorists must now serve at least 25 years in prison. German notes, “Even more unsettling is the flawed reasoning that drives the use of these methods. FBI agents have been inundated with bigoted training materials that falsely portray Arabs and Muslims as inherently violent. The FBI also has embraced an unfounded theory of “radicalization” that alleges a direct progression from adopting certain beliefs, or expressing opposition to
policies, to becoming a terrorist.
With such a skewed and biased view of the American Muslim community, the FBI’s
strategy of “preemption, prevention, and disruption” results in abusive
surveillance, targeting, and exploitation of innocent people based simply on
their exercise of their First Amendment rights.” U.S.
The Capitol Hill is controlled by the lobbies that are affiliated with the War Party – the military-industrial complex. With the forces of militarism ever important and vocal, it is doubtful that the FBI’s tactics would change any time soon. Funny that the Republicans complain about statism, but fail to see their pro-war stance as a tacit endorsement of statism! Until they rectify the incompatibilities at the heart of their ideology, the drums of war will march them into obscurity.
As the early 20th century writer Randolph Bourne famously warned, "War is the health of the state." War corrupts a nation's moral fabric and especially its intellectuals. It blurs the lines that separate the State from Government and from society. Filled with emotion, the patriot, according to Bourne, loses "all sense of the distinction between State, nation and government.” He/she joins "the herd.” He/she becomes an active amateur agent of the Government in reporting spies and disloyalists, and in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom. The individual became a "child on the back of a mad elephant" that he/she could neither control nor abandon, but was compelled to ride until the elephant decided to halt.
In times of war, the State attempts to draw upon the powerful force of individual choice by appealing to the patriotism of people and asking them to make the "choice" to enlist and otherwise support the war effort. In times of peace, people are mostly defined by their society and they interact with Government, giving little thought to the State. In times of war, the hierarchy and the power of these concepts is reversed. The Government practically becomes the State, and society is subordinated to both. Consequently, the erosion of civil liberties and the suppression of dissent and free speech become the norm.
Bourn’s essay was written nearly a century ago in opposition to World War I. It was written before the time of the all-powerful ‘Amen Corner’ in the Capitol Hill and the military-industrial complex, and their corrosive effects in fostering yellow journalism, propagated by embedded journalists and the media moguls. But the crux of his message remains as relevant as ever. Our intellectuals have forgotten that the real enemy is WAR and not the manufactured-terrorists, or the people of
Iraq or Afghanistan of today, and of